The PodCraft Podcast: Series 3, Episode 12
In this episode we're talking mailing lists. If you've investigated online marketing at all in the past, then no doubt you've come across the concept of mailing lists. If not, then you're about to discover one of the most important aspects of growing a great audience on the web, whether it's with a Podcast or any other type of content creation.
Despite being one of the oldest communication methods out there, email is still the one with the highest engagement. If you can get someone to voluntarily hand over their email address, then you have a much higher percentage of their attention that on any other medium.
Today we're talking about how you can use a mailing list to grow your podcast, engage your audience and boost your success. We're also briefly talking about how you go about setting one up, including the systems I'd recommend. Whatever you choose, start growing your mailing list now – you wont regret it.
Resources Covered on This Episode
MailChimp is an email marketing service provider, founded in 2001. It has 7 million users that collectively send over 10 billion emails through the service each month. It is quick, easy and simple to use and it has a free entry cost so you can sign-up for a free MailChimp account. However, once you've reached more than 2,000 subscribers you have to pay a little bit.
AWeber Communications provides email marketing and autoresponder software to small businesses worldwide. Unlike MailChimp, AWeber doesn’t have a free entry cost but AWeber arguably has more power tools.
- Sign up for either MailChimp or AWeber
- Create one list
- Get the code for that list’s opt-in form and place it on your About Page
- Install one of the plugins for MailChimp or AWeber, whichever is relevant and put that in your sidebar so you have an opt-in form there too. Or take the secondary approach which is to create a landing page and a Call to Action box that takes people to that landing page.
- I’d love to see the results so pop a URL for your landing page or your website in the comments box below.
Leave Me a Comment
What Mailing List tool do you use? I’d like to see examples on how you’re using your mailing list.
Finally, if you’re finding the series useful, I’d really appreciate it if you’d give me a review on iTunes. It really helps to get the show out to more people and grow the PodCraft community. Just pop over to PodCraft on the iTunes website to do that.
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View the Transcription on This Show
Hey folks! I’m Colin Gray and this is PodCraft.
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Series 3 of PodCraft, this is the series on creating a great home for your podcast on the web, creating a great website out of WordPress and what we can do to make it work. So, today, we’re on to mailing lists. Now, I’m going to cavy at this at the start and say that I’m not going to go in too much depth into the reasons why you need a mailing list. I’m just going to say right now, if you’re not including mailing list capture on your website then you’re missing out a ton value from your readers, your listeners and you’re not giving them as much as you could be as well because you’re not offering them as much value as you could if you not only have their ears via your podcast but you’ll also have their eyes thru being able to send them emails, being able to send them extra content, being able to enhance you podcast. So, I’ll talk a little bit how you can use a mailing list just to talk you into, in a little bit, but I’m definitely going to do an episode in the future, in fact a helpful series on promotion for your podcast and that will include certainly mailing list as a massive aspect.
So, first off though, the reasons why a mailing list can be a huge value to you and your listeners. SO, the first thing that really is that thru a mailing list, you want to be offering a ton of value, so you want to be not only sending out tons of great content on your podcast, you can be delivery great content audibly every single week or you want to be sending out stuff by text as well. And I would say that some people who run a podcast and have a mailing list, they do send out kind of repeat content, so they’ll, their recent episode and then they’ll actually send out to your mailing list saying ,”I’ve just recently sent you episode, this is what it’s about, go and have a listen”. Now, if people subscribe already to your podcast, it’s unlikely that they need you to tell them that a new episode has come out. They’ll get thru their RSS feed anyway, that’s one of the huge benefits of podcasting. So, I wouldn’t say that that is the way to use a mailing list. I think the real value in a mailing list for a podcast comes in things like follow ups to episodes, so when you release an episode, say a day or two later, or even on the day, you could argue, you want to send something supplementary to it, so you don’t want to tell them “I’ve just released an episode”, you want to say, “I hope you enjoy the episode I released a couple of days ago. Here are a couple of things that will really help you take action on the stuff that was in that. So, here are some extra resources. Here are few things that might help you with this or that, that was in the episode. You know this question asked, this action that I want you to take, here’s a couple of tools that will help you do that.” You might even put on a couple of show notes around the resources that were included. So quite often when people listen to a podcast, they’ll be out and about, they’ll be driving, they’ll be walking, they’ll be in the gym, wherever, and often people don’t tend to be able to take notes at the time or it might be that they think “Id’ love to do that” but by the time they get back to their desk or get back to whatever they do that work they’re not in the position to remember it or have it noted down. So, that means a well timed e-mail a couple of days later with something like “Hey, these are the links that you need for that podcast. I hope you really enjoyed it. This is what you need to be able to go and actually achieve what we’re talking about.” So, I think that supplementary information is one of the biggest ways you can use a mailing list. And that’s obviously a way to offer value to your listeners, so, that’s around growing your audience, that’s around making people even bigger fans of your content than it would be otherwise. And it’s also about getting them to actually achieve stuff, so if they listen to your content and they actually follow up on it and achieve success because of what you’re talking about, they’re much more likely to evangelise your stuff to promote you around, to, because of their success, they go “I achieve this because of what that person was talking about, you should listen to it as well” so, that’s a really good growth tactic. Something that benefits you though is that a mailing list is really handy as a source of idea for future content. So, you can send out questions to your audience. You can find these audience members who have made the effort to sign up to your mailing list, they’re obviously quite engaged, they’re obviously quite into your topic, send them a survey, send them a question, say “What is it you’re struggling with just now? What could I help you with? What would you really appreciate some help with right now in your podcast, well, for me it’s in your podcasting, for you it will be in whatever your subject is?” Now, this is not only ideas for future podcast, for future articles for your blog, it’s also ideas for products. So, if you’re running a business, if you’re running a consultancy, whatever is you’re doing, you might want to create some products, you might want to create stuff that will appeal to your audience that you can then sell to them. And the best way to create a product that will really sell, that will really appeal to your audience is to ask them what they want, so ask them what problems they’re having and then create a product to fix that. It’s really one of the most underutilised uses for a mailing list, that’s just speaking directly to your listeners and really finding what they want.
So, beyond that, if you want to just start to extract a little bit of value, start to monetise your list a little bit, to monetise your podcast a little bit, you can just start to promote other people’s stuff as well. So, you can talk about products on your podcast, you can talk about things like, well the most simple example actually in this case is MailChimp and AWeber. I’m going to talk about MailChimp and AWeber as mailing list tools, both of them run Affiliate programs. So, you could promote that like I’m going to do at the end of this podcast, I’m going to say, “You can sign up for MailChimp and AWeber. You can use my Affiliate link or you can just find them otherwise if you want to bypass it obviously. But if you want to promote that then you can just put that on your podcast” And obviously , I can mention it in the podcast, that’s a good thing but then in my follow up material I can send out the links directly to MailChimp and AWeber in my mailing list and therefore it’s much more likely that the people will use my affiliate link to do that, essentially because it’s right there in their inbox at that time. There’s bound to be plenty of affiliate stuff around your areas, wherever it niche you’re in, bound to be products out there that you could sell. If you can’t find any there or directly affiliate related, then just get in contact with people, find some people that are selling products that are related to what you’re talking about and ask them if you could do a deal, do a joint venture with them, set up a commission scheme and be able to promote that for them. You can do that much more effectively with a combination of a podcast and a mailing list that you can with just a podcast or even just podcast in a website. So, that’s the main uses I think there are for a mailing list. There’s hundreds more obviously but we’re only on a short episode, I just want to talk to you about the benefits a little bit convention, it’s a good idea and obviously we could talk about that sometime in the future, I’m a little bit more detail.
But the way we can go about this, the method for setting your mailing list, essentially you want to sign up for as I mentioned just a little while ago, a mailing list tool. And the two that I like the best are MailChimp and AWeber . Now, MailChimp is the one I use, so, that’s my favourite one but I know that AWeber is a really good tool as well. Tons of marketers out there use it, tons of podcasters, so by all means make your choice between MailChimp and AWeber. I tend to find that the main arguments for one and the other are that MailChimp is a really quick and easy, simple one to get into. It also has a free entry cost, so you can sign up for a free MailChimp account. Once you get up to a decent mailing list size, you have to start paying a little bit whereas AWeber you’ll be paying from the very start. But AWeber possibly has slightly more powerful tools but it’s a bit harder possibly to use, that may be the kind of reasoning between which one do you choose. So, the principle is that you sign up and if you don’t mind so, I would love it if you could go thru my affiliate links, obviously I get a small commission for this, it’s just as a thank you I suppose for the content if you find it useful, by all means, you don’t have to do that at all, so bypass it and just search them out on Google if you want. But if you don’t mind going thru mine, just go to podcraft.net/mailchimp or podcraft.net/aweber and that’ll take you straight to the sign up pages and you can sign up from there. So, that’s the first step, you sign up with either MailChimp or AWeber, you then just create your first list. So, you create a list on MailChimp or AWeber, you can have quite a lot of list in there if you want but you’ll start off with just one core list, just the, your main list for your website. And essentially then you just go to WordPress and you search for in the plugins directory the similar name again, so just for MailChimp or AWeber. Go to plugins directory, type in MailChimp AWeber, and the first one that comes up will be the official one. Now, you can check that you’re using the official plugin there by the little by line, so it’ll describe it, it’ll say MailChimp plugin or AWeber plugin, it’ll give a wee description and it’ll have a by at the bottom, so, that tells you who it’s authored by and generally in there it’ll say either by MailChimp or by AWeber, then you know you’re using the official tool. You can then put that into a widget in the sidebar and that is the most basic form of this. You’re just putting a sign up form in the sidebar and that lets people type in their name and their e-email address. As soon as they click the sign up button after they typed in both then that adds them to your mailing list and that’s it, that’s basically the whole process.
Now, there are better ways to do this. So, I think there’s much better ways to do this and I’m going to talk a bit about this tomorrow and future in the series. So, you could start off with that, start off by signing up and getting one sign up form into your sidebar. You can also pull out some HTML from both MailChimp and AWeber, so you can embed a sign up form on certain pages. The classic of that is the about us page, so a lot of people underuse their about us page, if you go to your about us, go halfway down, take the HTML from MailChimp or AWeber, the sign up form that they offer you and paste it in, paste it in to your about us page halfway down, see if that starts getting you some sign ups, it probably will. It’s often one of the more successful pages on a website, so I hope that works for you.
The last quick tip I’ll just go through is to actually ties this in with what we talked about on the first day of this week. So, two episodes ago we’re talking about call to action plugin. Now, what you can do is create a call to action, that is to sign up for your list, so people click a button and they’ll sign up for your newsletter. But what you can do is have them so that they click the button and it goes to a quite a plain page which has nothing but a little encouragement to sign up and the sign up form itself or even a lead magnet, so again I’ve talked about this earlier on in the series about having a resource that people can download. So, whatever your niche is, whatever your area is, create like a top ten resources to help you do this or ten ways that you can do that, that kind of resource that’ll encourage people to sign up for. You create your call to action in the sidebar or on a post, they click that, they go to the page, a landing page that they call it, so it’s nothing but the sign up form and a bit of content and have the sign up form, HTML of sign up form code there. Now, this is called a two stage opt-in process, two stage because people generally just have to click a button first to get to the sign up form and that’s quite an easy thing. So, you’re not asking them really to commit to anything at that point, all they’re doing is clicking a button at this point, that’s the first stage of the two stage process. And the second stage is obviously putting on their e-mail address. Now, under what reason that this works a little bit better and this is something that Click Owens from Leadpages talks a lot about, they’ve gone a pioneer this two stage process. The reason they think it works better is because it starts this kind of this ladder of compliance, it’s a psychological effect that means that once you’ve clicked once that’s of easy entry, that first click, it’s starts this little thing in your head where you’re more likely to continue complying, that’s probably not the right word for it, probably not the best word for it but it’s means you’re more likely to actually take the next action as well. Once you do that first, well, you’re more likely to take the second action and that is to fill in your e-mail address. Obviously that is opposed to just offering the e-mail address input straight away which can be a little bit intimidating. So, some people don’t like giving away their e-mail address, so, that’s why the two stage process which eases people into that second stage of giving away their e-mail address seems to be quite effective.
So, yes, tying one of those plugins or just the general default MailChimp or AWeber opt-in forms on a page to the call to action plugin which we talked about a couple of days ago, that can be a really effective way to get people to opt-in. But again, we’re going to be talking about one more tool tomorrow which I think really puts the icing on the cake of your opt-in process. And I’ll really, I’ll talk about that and why it works so well. So, tune in again tomorrow for that and it’ll really increase your click-through rates or your opt-in rates I would say.
So, that just leaves us to go to the tasks for today. So, your task for today, as you probably guess, sign up for either MailChimp or AWeber, go to podcraft.net/mailchimp or podcraft.net/aweber, sign up for your account there, create one list and then get the opt-in form for that list, get the code for that opt-in form for that list and place it on your about page. Also, install one of the plugins for MailChimp or AWeber, whichever one is relevant and put that in your sidebar so you’ve got an opt-in form there too or of course take that secondary approach which I talked about, which was to create a landing page and then a call to action box that takes people to that landing page. And once you’ve done that, I’d love to see the results, so pop your, pop a URL for your landing page or pop a URL for your website into the comments for this page, sorry, for this episode, just go to podcraft.net/313 and that will take you to the show notes for this episode. I’d love to see some examples of how you’re using this. So, pop over and do that, I’d love to see it.
So, thanks again for joining me on another episode of Series 3 of PodCraft. I hope you’re finding this series and your website is building out well. I hope you’re finding that it’s really improving things whether you’re starting from scratch, right from episode one, or whether this is just helping you to build out your website a bit more. But again, yes, give me some feedback, I’d love to hear what you think, podcraft.net/312, drop some comments in. Okay, thanks very much and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.